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Publishers Weekly, 1990-01-26 In what PW described as an ``engaging revisionist chronicle,'' the author traces Irish history from 1600, when the country had a subsistence economy and was home to a welter of peoples, each of whom defined their ``Irishness'' differently, to the 1970s, when Ireland--despite three centuries of conquest and fissure--was a country with a powerful identity. (Mar.)
Publishers Weekly, 1989-01-27 In 1600, the Tudor kingdom of Ireland was divided by Gaelic chieftains, had a subsistence economy and was home to a welter of peoples, each of whom defined their ``Irishness'' differently. By the 1970s, when this massive, scholarly history closes, Irelanddespite three centuries of conquest and fissurewas a country with a powerful sense of national identity. The record of England's treatment of Ireland, as told by Foster, is dismal: intensive colonization via the plantation system, Cromwell's campaign of massacre and expropriation, forced resettlement of native landholders, especially Catholics. In this engaging revisionist chronicle, the author, a University of London historian, shows that the Irish potato famine of 1845-49, far from being a watershed event, merely accentuated the trends of large-scale emigration, agricultural decline and Anglophobia already underway for three decades. Foster casts a skeptical eye on turn-of-the-century cultural revivalists and the gropings of Yeats, Synge and Lady Augusta Gregory; the quest for ``Irishness,'' he argues, has sometimes fueled sectarian and even racialist emotions. (Mar.)
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